Never Sneak Up on a Man with a Mirrorball

Trouble in paradise for Vince and Howard


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Chapter Notes: Story for cailenbraern, as a HUGE THANKYOU for telling us about the Boosh tickets. If she didn’t, tundra_boy and I wouldn’t have been able to get tickets. So.. THANKYOU!!!

Vince woke to see Howard shoving some underpants in a bag. He smiled, yawned and stretched, his feet sticking off the end of the couch, and let out a contented sigh.

“Morning Howard.” He shifted onto his side, curling up slightly, and watching as Howard shoved some more clothes in the bag. “Howard?” He frowned when he got no reply, sitting up and running a hand through his hair, attempting to calm it.

“Oh.. Morning Vince.” Howard stood, a little awkwardly, but then, awkward was the norm for Howard. “I, um… Sleep well?” Vince nodded, frowning as Howard fidgeted, before turning away.

“What’re you doing?” Shoving the covers down, Vince crawled off the couch, groaning a little as he stretched cramped muscles. “Howard? What’s wrong?” He stepped forward, resting one hand on Howard shoulder lightly, only for Howard to flinch away from him. “Howard… Howard?”

“Yeah, yeah, everything’s fine, Vince. I just, you know.. Um.” Howard backed away from him, eyes wide, gaze darting nervously round the room. “I have to… go, uh… water the, uh, baboons.”

Vince gaped as Howard darted out of the cabin, before sitting down heavily on the couch.

He couldn’t understand it. He looked down at the cushions, picking idly at a loose thread, as he thought back.

Nothing unusual had happened. It had been a pretty normal day at the zoo. Millet distribution in the morning, a quick break for tea and groping with Howard, then he’d set up the disco for Martin the Pinemartin’s birthday. He’d DJ’d, managed to get Joey Moose grooving to Final Countdown, then he’d come to the hut, had a cup of tea, and curled up on the couch with Howard… He couldn’t help but smile at the memory, Howard’s arms warm around him, and moustache tickling the back of his neck.

His smile faded as he looked around, clothes scattered on the floor, and Howard’s bag, still sat in the middle of the room, light blue trousers trailing from the opening. He contemplated it for a moment, before wandering into the kitchen and making a cup of tea. Then he wandered over to the bag and knelt next to it, placing his tea carefully on the carpet. He tugged the light blue trousers from the bag and chucked them behind him. Looking into the bag, he reached in and sifted through the clothes… shirts, underwear, poncho…

Vince pulled the poncho out carefully, smiling as his fingers ran over the material. He remembered buying it for him, and the way Howard thanked him later, after all that Mrs Gideon nonsense. He placed the poncho on the floor next to him, then looked back in the bag. Nothing else seemed interesting, just normal boring Howard clothes… Maybe he should take him shopping? Get him some accessories…

A piece of paper sticking out from underneath some green underpants caught his attention, and he tugged it free carefully. It was an envelope, ripped open at the top, and a telephone number was scribbled on the side in blue biro. Feeling a sense of dread creep over him, Vince pulled the letter from inside and opened it.

‘Dear Howard,…’

He licked his suddenly dry lips, and quickly scanned down the rest of the letter. He slumped back, mouth dropping open, as he read to the bottom.

‘Always yours, Mrs Gideon.’

He let out a soft gasp, his hands dropping limply to his lap, as he tried to wrap his brain around what he’d read.

Is this why Howard was leaving? That Jazz viper just whistles and Howard goes running? He clenched his jaw, glaring down at the letter angrily. After everything they’d been through, ten years of friendship, and only months of… well, more than friendship, Howard was just going to run off with her…

His fist curled around the letter, the crinkling of paper seemed to echo round the room, and then, very carefully, he picked up his cup of tea. He took a sip, as he dropped the letter back in the bag, before holding the cup out. Slowly, he tipped it, watching with a weird fascination, as the steaming liquid poured into the open mouth of the bag. He shook the cup free of drips, then stood, walking into the kitchen and placing the empty cup in the sink.

Howard belonged to him now. And he wasn’t about to give up without a fight.

He finally discovered Howard cowering in the wallaby pit, attempting to reattach the mirror ball to one of the support struts.

“Oi, Howard.” Vince felt a sort of grim satisfaction as Howard visibly jumped and the mirror ball slipped from his hand, before dropping on his head and bouncing to the ground.

“Ow! Vince! You don’t sneak up on a man with a mirror ball!” Vince rolled his eyes as Howard rubbed his head, grimacing.

“Yeah? Well it ain’t gonna hurt you as much as I will.”

“What?” Howard shook his head, bending down to pick up the mirror ball, and Vince took a moment to enjoy the view.

“Yeah. I found the letter Howard.” He stepped forward as Howard froze, the mirror ball clutched to his chest. “When were you gonna tell me, huh? When you’re on the ferry?”

“What ferry?”

“Shut up. Look, I don’t care about Mrs Gideon! You don’t belong to her, you’re not her Jazz puppy!”

“Vince, its not as simple as that…”

“I don’t care! You’re mine, Howard!”

“I know, I know…” Vince paused, a little surprised to see Howard so… vulnerable. He took another step forward, one hand reaching out as Howard ducked his head, staring at the mirror ball. “What about the zoo Howard?”

Finally, Vince reached him, resting one hand gently on Howard’s arm, squeezing softly.

“I’m sorry Vince. I don’t… I don’t have a choice.”

“What? What’re you talking about? Course you do! You love the zoo! You’re the king keeper, we need you, Howard…” He pressed closer, the mirror ball pushing against his chest. “I need you here, Howard.”

Howard looked up, meeting Vince’s gaze.


“Yeah.” Vince slid his hand up Howard’s arm, over his shoulder, to slide around his neck. “Come on Howard. Don’t go.”

Howard sighed, finally letting go of the mirror ball and letting it drop between them, before watching it roll to the side slightly. Vince pressed closer, chest to chest, his other hand slipping round Howard’s waist. He leant up, brushing his lips against Howard’s cheek, waiting until Howard turned his head and pressed their lips together.

Howard sighed against him as Vince opened his mouth, licking softly at barely parted lips, before Howard let him in. Vince tightened his grip on Howard’s neck and pulled him closer, sliding his tongue over Howard’s. He moaned gently as he felt hands rest on his hips, gripping gently.

“Vince.” Vince tried to follow as Howard pulled back, but he was just pushed back. “I can’t Vince. I’m sorry, I just… I can’t.”

Vince frowned again, trying to search for some meaning in Howard’s eyes. Howard just turned his head, pushing Vince away as he stepped back.

“I don’t think so Howard. Not after all this time! I love you Howard, I’m not gonna let you run off with her!”

“No Vince, you don’t understand. I *have* to!”

Vince stared at him for a moment, until Howard started fidgeting.

“I have to. She… She threatened to tell Bainbridge about us. About you and me…” He wrapped his arms around his chest, sighing softly. “If he finds out, we’ll get kicked out of the zoo, Vince! He hates us, he just needs an excuse!”

“Bainbridge?” Vince shook his head in disbelief. “Bainbridge can’t kick us out of the zoo!”

“Uh yeah, he can.” Howard stepped forward, gesturing vaguely around them. “He owns the zoo, Vince. He can fire us if he wants to.”

“No, he can’t. You know why? Cos we’re king keepers. We’re smarter than him, Howard! You’re a cream poet! A jazz python! With your creative talent and my hair, we practically run this zoo!”

Howard looked around, a small smile playing on his lips.

“Yeah?” Vince grinned at him. “Yeah, yeah, we do. This zoo needs us. Its just… What are we gonna do about Bainbridge?”

Vince smiled, pulling Howard to him and pressing a quick kiss against his lips.

“You leave that to me, chewy teeth.”

Vince snuggled back against Howard on the couch and sighed happily. He giggled as Howard kissed the back of his neck, moustache tickling the sensitive skin.

“This is the life, Howard.” He sighed again, tilting his head back and smiling as the kisses trailed round to his throat. Kolobos the Crab played quietly in the background, the light from the tv giving everything a blue tint.

“Yeah.” Howard mumbled against his skin, moving up and nipping gently at Vince’s ear. “Hmm. Vince? What did you do about Bainbridge?”

“Hm?” Vince turned his head, so he could see Howard’s face. “Oh, I stumbled across some… pictures.”

“Pictures?” Howard frowned, leaning forward and press a kiss on the corner of Vince’s mouth.

“Yeah. You gotta see them Howard. Bainbridge never looked so pretty. Lacy pink is a good look for him…” Howard chuckled, tightening his grip around Vince’s waist. “Don’t you worry about Bainbridge.”

“Thanks Vince.” A soft sigh against Vince’s neck and he could feel Howard relax against him. “Oh, Vince…”


“Why do all my clothes have tea stains?”

Vince grinned, biting his bottom lip to stop himself giggling, before snuggling down and closing his eyes.

“Night Howard.”

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